I was interested enough in the first volume to try the second. It's better. Spoilers ahead for the first.
Maomao, as the food taster for one of the emperor's consorts, gets an order from the emperor himself: to attend to (that is, cure) another consort. There is also the question of a festival in the winter garden.
It involves a silver cup, hairpins, that Maomao actually wears make-up, a failure on the part of a lady in waiting, and more.
(Nothing explicit, but it DOES take place in the women's quarters of a castle.)